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Dnipro success beyond Boyko's wildest dreams

"I'd say this is the best season I have had," FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk goalkeeping hero Denys Boyko told UEFA.com. And, with the final to come, he is not done yet.

Denys Boyko talks to UEFA.com
Denys Boyko talks to UEFA.com ©Getty Images for UEFA

Heralded as the hero of FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk's semi-final success against SSC Napoli, 27-year-old goalkeeper Denys Boyko told UEFA.com he is satisfied that his side have made history even before they take on Sevilla FC in the UEFA Europa League final.

UEFA.com: You have kept at least one clean sheet in every knockout phase tie. Is that an achievement you are proud of?

Denys Boyko: This is, certainly, very important for me, but I would like to point out that this was a great team effort, not just something I did by myself. It's not just the goalkeepers and defenders that are responsible for defending – it is a job for the whole team. Everyone, from the forwards to the goalkeeper, participates in attack and defence.

UEFA.com: In pretty much every knockout tie, Dnipro were underdogs. Did that put extra pressure on the team?

Boyko: I did not feel any pressure whatsoever – quite the opposite. We know what we are doing – we are prepared both physically and mentally. We know our goals and objectives, so it does not matter what people think. We go onto the pitch and play as a united team.

Boyko has been Dnipro's star man
Boyko has been Dnipro's star man©AFP/Getty Images

UEFA.com: Much has been made of Dnipro having to play in Kyiv, but the crowd for the semi-final against Napoli was extraordinary. How was it for you?

Boyko: Dnipropetrovsk is our home town, and we have our own stadium and our own fans there, but we received amazing support during our match against Napoli. People came from all over the country, and even from other countries, to watch the game and to support Dnipro. It felt amazing and I am deeply grateful to all those people who supported us through such difficult times. So many people came to show their support for our club.

UEFA.com: What does it mean to be part of the Dnipro team that reached the UEFA Europa League final?

Boyko: I am very proud to be part of this team. I am hugely proud of the results we have achieved. And I am also delighted to have had the chance to participate in games at this level together with my team-mates. I'd say this is the best season I have ever had. I really hope there will be even better seasons, but for the moment this is the best season for the whole team. I know we are making history for our club by progressing to the next level.

Denys Boyko made countless crucial interventions against Napoli
Denys Boyko made countless crucial interventions against Napoli©AFP/Getty Images

UEFA.com: You are playing the holders in the final; how are you going to stop Sevilla?

Boyko: The final is the final. I have no predictions or expectations. We must go out and play the best we can – whatever will be, will be. We want to win the competition, of course, but all through this tournament we've only been thinking about the next game. Even though it's been very difficult for us, we've always managed to qualify for the next round. That was our dream, and we made it come true. Now we have to take the final step.

UEFA.com: What would it mean to win it?

Boyko: It would definitely be a very happy moment for our club and for the whole of Ukraine. It would be an amazingly emotional moment – it is hard even to imagine it. I would need to feel it to be able to talk about it. Every match, every victory, every stage of the competition has been of historic importance to our club. So we feel absolutely positive and focused. We feel great and very happy to be in the final.

©Getty Images for UEFA
©Getty Images for UEFA
©Getty Images for UEFA
©Getty Images for UEFA